Meet our Scholars

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"Cancer was the worst thing that happened to me. I lost my hair, my friends, and my freedom...yet, I wouldn't take it back for anything in the world."

Cancer was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I lost my hair, my friends, and my freedom all in the span of ten months. Yet, I would not take it back for anything in the world. Through my experiences with Osteosarcoma, I gained a broader view of life and how to value what I have. I was inspired to pursue a degree in the medical field, and have a greater outlook on my future goals and aspirations. Cancer changed my life forever, but I can say with great certainty that I am a better person because of it.

Picture me at age fourteen: I was your average teenage girl, taking life for granted and already counting down the days until I would finally graduate. When I was diagnosed with cancer that all changed. I no longer cared about school dances or the upcoming track meet. My world was changed forever, and I’ve never gone back. Daily, I hear trivial complaints and stories. These encounters make me sad. They don’t understand. They are not taking full advantage of all the opportunities life has to offer, and appreciating what they have. I have seen what it is like to be broken and have learned there is so much more to life than simply living. I never thought this way before being diagnosed with cancer. I now want my life to continually move forward, not backwards. I used to wish away time, waiting for Spring Break or even lunch, but now I treasure every minute I have. I understand what it is like to be at the bottom, and know now more than ever that the top is the only place to be. This has motivated me to be a more compassionate and helpful person, especially to those in need. This sense of empathy is rare, and I know that cancer is the reason why.

When I was in the hospital, I learned many things, especially concerning the medical field. I was (and still am) completely fascinated with how medicine works, and how the science is constantly evolving and changing. In fact, some protocol for my treatment changed within my treatment time, and that is completely enthralling in my mind. This sense of passion paired with the unending dedication and commitment exhibited by my dedicated team of doctors and researchers has inspired me to pursue a career in the medical field. Next year, I will be attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison to study biochemistry. I cannot wait to give back to others as these doctors have for me. Cancer has shaped my future career-wise more than any other aspect. At the time of diagnosis, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future. Now I can say with great certainty that I know I will be able to make a difference in the lives of others while still doing what I have a passion for, and cancer was once again the foundation.

With this goal of medical school in front of me, I have many aspirations for the future. I have done many service activities in the past, such as volunteering a local kids’ program or working at a pancake breakfast, and hope to continue serving others into the future. This once again relates to the theme of giving back, and how I feel!owe it to my community to give to them what has been given to me; the gift of life. Once I have my degree, I am more than willing to offer my health services to others who may not be able to afford care. Above all, in the future I hope to be happy. Cancer took a lot out of me for a long time, and I have worked incredibly hard to get to the place where I am today. I would love to have a family, friends, and a successful career as all of these things bring me joy. I know with strong conviction that my future will be a success, motivated by my present passion, future dreams, and past experiences with cancer.

Cancer is difficult for anyone, but especially difficult for one diagnosed at a young age. At age fourteen, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in my Left Distal Femur. I was pulled out of track, disconnected with my friends, and unable to do a lot of things on my own. At first I was hurt, saddened, and frightened for the life ahead of me. In time, though, I came to realize cancer would be the single most important event to occur in my life. Through my treatment process, I became a more understanding and appreciative individual, found out my true passion, and learned that in the future, I can accomplish anything I desire. All this and more, due to the worst thing that ever happened to me: cancer.